Environment Monitoring

We’re starting to think about monitoring humidity, temperature etc of the environment around our liquid handlers. Does anyone else do this? Have you gone for commercial (e.g. Elemental Machines) or DIY setups? What have you found that works well and accurately?

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Everyone should be doing this!

There are a few ways to do this and some considerations,

  1. Newer liquid handlers tend to come with a suite of sensors on the system that allows for monitoring (for example the Tecan Fluent can record temp and humidity with simple function calls.)

  2. Integrated devices may have their own sensors that you can query and feed back into an auditable log file

  3. Outsource to Elemental Machines or some other NIST standard hardware/software (please note that some of this is highly regulated so folks not in R&D environments, like those in clinical environments, should really make sure that any collected metrics meet industry adopted QC standards. This may mean regular calibration checks and all sorts of extra tape.)

  4. Industrial sensors - more akin to manufacturing which requires some programming chops

  5. D-I-Y : Build your sensors using Arduino or Circuit Python. Accuracy and Robustness is up to you to maintain. You will actually have to learn about various sensors and chips (and yes there is a lot to learn) in order to find the best one for your need. You may have to deal with part shortages. Also the software will seem very hacked together but it’s a cheap alternative that can produce results and you can always keep data relative rather than truly accurate if you’re lazy about it.


Just want to add that if you really want to go cheap you could do HomeAssistant with some Acurite thermometers and RTL_433. I do this at home and if the need arose it would be suitable for a lab too. You can put sensors in fridges/freezers/incubators, anywhere you want.

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